By Ken Burgin, Profitable Hospitality. Ken will be sharing more tips on how to increase your café’s profitability at the ASCA Symposium: Secrets of Specialty, How to run a successful café 

If your average customer spend increased by just 50 cents per person, it could mean another $500 – $1000 per week in sales. How to do it? You could bump up prices (unpopular) or boost the selling skills of your staff. Even with the Aussie cynicism about ‘would you like fries with that’, there are many simple ways they can sell in a genuine and effective way.

Here are four sales techniques to teach your team:

  1. Start with the cup size – when someone asks for a flat white, the server’s reply should be ‘large?’, not ‘what size?’. More people upsize when that is suggested.
  2. Assume the sale – ask people which muffin they would like, rather than a yes/no question ‘would you like a muffin?’. These ‘closed questions’ often invite a negative response, so rephrase them. Check for other situations where yes/no needs to be changed.
  3. Use ‘the nod’ – when asking about coffee size or muffin choice, give a slight positive nod of the head. The body language gives a subtle direction to customers about the answer you want. When staff understand this, be ready for them to use it back at you when they ask for a day off!
  4. Recommend the best – ‘the Ethiopian blend is our best coffee this week’. That means you need to be coaching staff regularly on product knowledge. Think of it as weekly training vitamins instead of the usual ‘steroid hit’ – a big dose of training when they start, then nothing.

Monitor sales results to see which of these works: the ratio of large coffees sold to regular, before and after a training program. Total sales per-head of beverages and of food – count them separately. To do this you need an accurate customer count – set up your POS so this is declared when the sale is done. Congratulate the sales stars and coach the slow ones – soon you’ll be upgrading to a bigger machine!

Ken Burgin works with food service operators worldwide to make their businesses more popular and profitable. He is a former café and restaurant owner in Sydney, and the founder He will be sharing more advice on how to make cafés more profitable at the ASCA Symposium “Secrets of Specialty: How to Run a Successful Café” on Monday 27 March 2017.